A symbol of liberty, the handspun textile khadi was celebrated by Gandhi. Now it is sought after again, writes Kalpana Sunder, as designers tap into its transformative power.
Part of the strong textile tradition of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, khadi is the coarse, handspun and hand-woven material usually made from cotton yarn. The making of khadi (derived from the word khaddar) involves converting the fibre into yarn with spinning wheels, and then weaving the yarn into fabric using looms. Hand-spinning and weaving have been a part of the social and cultural life of India for centuries.